Shoura-e-Jehad demands financial accountability from Hurriyat

The Shoura-e-Jehad, or council of the five main militant organisations in Kashmir, suspects that high profile Hurriyat leaders could have misappropriated money meant for the movement. The ostentatious lifestyles of several Hurriyat leaders have not gone unnoticed by the militants, who today realise that while they are risking their lives, the overground leadership is living an easy life with wealth, publicity and travel.

Srinagar, May 16, 1997: The Shoura-e-Jehad has written to the executive members of the Hurriyat Conference and to Shabir Ahmed Shah (Jammu & Kashmir Peoples League) asking them to provide details about funds received by them from different channels for the welfare of families affected by militancy. The letter was received during the first week of March 1997. The letter requested details about amounts received, how they were disbursed and the names of people who received financial aid. The information was supposed to have been furnished by end-April.

This move was initiated by the Shoura-e-Jehand following widespread allegations by militant tanzeems that Hurriyat leaders had misappropriated large amounts of money meant for the families of `mujahids' who had been killed or arrested. A large section of the militant leadership feels that one of the most important reasons for the growing disenchantment of militants with the armed struggle has been the apathy of the Hurriyat leadership towards the families of militants. By initiating this move, the Shoura-e-Jehad has sent an important signal to the Hurriyat leadership : that they too are accountable.

Shabir Ahmed Shah who is also a recipient of this letter has informed the Jehad that he had never personally received any money from any channel for any purpose. The Shoura-e-Jehad is believed to have taken a grim view of Shah's stance and have informed him that the funds received by his associates - particularly Nayeem Khan - should be accounted for.

The leaders who have been served this notice are: Maulvi Umar Farooq, Abdul Ghani Lone, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Prof. Abdul Ghani, Mohd. Yaseen Malik, Maulvi Abbas Ansari and Shabir Ahmed Shah.

The question is: What will happen next? It is clear that the Hurriyat leaders have long digested what they received. Will the Shoura-e-Jehad be able to do anything about it? Or will their notice just serve as a reminder for what could come in the future?

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